Judges 17:3 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Judges 17:3, NIV: When he returned the eleven hundred shekels of silver to his mother, she said, 'I solemnly consecrate my silver to the LORD for my son to make an image overlaid with silver. I will give it back to you.'

Judges 17:3, ESV: And he restored the 1,100 pieces of silver to his mother. And his mother said, “I dedicate the silver to the LORD from my hand for my son, to make a carved image and a metal image. Now therefore I will restore it to you.”

Judges 17:3, KJV: And when he had restored the eleven hundred shekels of silver to his mother, his mother said, I had wholly dedicated the silver unto the LORD from my hand for my son, to make a graven image and a molten image: now therefore I will restore it unto thee.

Judges 17:3, NASB: He then returned the 1,100 pieces of silver to his mother, and his mother said, 'I wholly consecrate the silver from my hand to the LORD for my son to make a carved image and a cast metal image; so now I will return them to you.'

Judges 17:3, NLT: He returned the money to her, and she said, 'I now dedicate these silver coins to the LORD. In honor of my son, I will have an image carved and an idol cast.'

Judges 17:3, CSB: He returned the 1,100 pieces of silver to his mother, and his mother said, "I personally consecrate the silver to the Lord for my son's benefit to make a carved image and a silver idol. I will give it back to you."

What does Judges 17:3 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

An odd scene is unfolding in an Israelite family. A man named Micah confessed to his mother that he stole a huge sum of money from her. He was concerned because he overheard her pronouncing a curse against the thief. This was probably some prayer asking a deity to do harm to the person responsible. She also seems to think the curse has power, as she quickly forgives him and announces a blessing (Judges 17:1–2). Both assumptions are arrogant. There is no reason to think her idle curse had supernatural power (Proverbs 26:2), or that she was in any position to cancel such a thing through her own blessing.

Now Micah's mother goes beyond her verbal blessing, hoping to make sure that her son is not cursed. When Micah hands the silver back to her, she declares the silver to be dedicated to the Lord, on behalf of her son. That might be a good step, except that she immediately plans to create idols with the silver. Her words include the phrase "a carved image and a metal image," which are the exact terms used in a condemnation from the Law of Moses (Deuteronomy 27:15).

This is yet another violation of God's basic expectations for the people of Israel. Micah has already dishonored his mother (Exodus 20:12), coveted her money (Exodus 20:17), and stolen (Exodus 20:15). There's a good chance his theft required some dishonesty (Exodus 20:16). Now his mother plans to create idolatrous images (Exodus 20:4). If she'd called on some other god in her curse, that would have also been a violation of the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:3). The family's commitment to Yahweh seems completely broken. They either do not know or do not care about the details of the Law of Moses.

Micah's mother imagines that the best way to worship the God of Israel is to do as the people of Canaan do. They make carved images and keep them in their homes. She believes she is honoring Yahweh and offering her son protection from curses by giving him these supposedly sacred objects. This exemplifies the heart of Israel's problem during this period of history. Even when they claimed to worship Yahweh, they ignored the commands He had given to them, preferring to do as other nations did (Nehemiah 9:16; Leviticus 18:24–30).